In the last blog I mentioned one of, if not the, best systems for purification of fish oil, a patented system known as EPAX®. Following is a summary of this system.

Starting Material – crude fish oils are analyzed and controlled for pesticides and heavy metals before they are accepted.

Deacidification – free fatty acids are removed as sodium soaps by mixing with aqueous sodium hydroxide solution. The sodium soaps are removed in a separator, washed with water and continuously dried under vacuum at a temperature not exceeding 100 degrees C.

Stripping – pollutants are removed in a distillation unit running with a patented process. The process effectively reduces the levels of PCB’s, pesticides and heavy metals. The levels of pollutants retained in the product are close to or under detectable levels.

Ethyl Esterification – ethyl esters are made by treating triglyceride with non-aqueous ethanol and a chemical catalyst (sodium methylate). Glycerol is drained off, excess ethanol recovered andthe esters are washed with water and vacuum dried.

Distillation – the ethyl ester is distilled under vacuum in a short-path evaporator. In order to achieve the specified concentration, the distillate may be subjected to further distillation using the same process.

Transesterification – the ethyl ester is reconverted to triglycerides by esterification with glycerol using an enzyme catalyst. The reaction is performed at temperatures below 100 degrees C.

Upgrading – a unique process utilizing distillation in a specific sequence to decrease the levels of monoglycerides, diglycerides and ethyl esters. the upgrading step has been specifically developed by EPAX and delivers a triglyceride content of at least 90%.

Bleaching and Filtering – bleaching earth (natural clay) is added to the oil and the oil is filtered to remove the bleaching earth together with color components and oxidation products. this step reduces the peroxide and anisidine values, and gives a clear and light yellow oil.

Deodorization – steam distillation is performed under vacuum. The steam absorbs volatile components which are then removed under vacuum. The volatile components which contribute to bad smell and taste in the oil are effectively removed by this process.

Mixing and Addition of Antioxidants – antioxidants in the form of natural mixed tocopherols and/or d-alpha-tocopherol are added according to the specifications. A combination of mixed tocopherols and d-alpha-tocopherol is used unless otherwise specified. The antioxidants used are IP certified as GMO free.

Packaging – the oil is filled into new steel drums and nitrogen blanketed. The drums used for EPAX products are never reused. The shelf life for EPAX products is two years when stored in an unopened drum at or below 25 degrees C.

This rigorous processing system ensures exceptionally clean, pure and safe fish oil that can be used with confidence in any prenatal product.